The X-Files: The Return of Bob The Special Edition

By Anthony Leong with contributions from Laurie Dillon and Paul Hornsfeld

The hallway was empty, except for the two figures walking briskly towards the elevator. Echoes of distant telephones and computer printers could be heard beneath the rhythmic footsteps. The man reached the elevator first, and pushed the button. He then passed the manila folder to his female companion.

"So where's Skinner sending us this time, Mulder?" the Scully asked as she opened the folder.

"Two days ago, the local owner of an electric utility, a Montgomery Burns, was gunned down in a mid-western town called Springfield. The local police arrested a man who was identified as the attacker," Mulder answered.

"Who ID'ed him?" Scully said.

"One of the town locals, a Homer Simpson. The attacker's name was Ned Flanders..." Mulder said.

Scully read aloud, "Devout family man, very religious, wife, two kids... Looks like a straightforward case to me, Mulder. I don't see why we're being called in for this..."

The elevator door opened and they stepped inside. Scully pushed the button for the ground floor of the FBI Headquarters. The metal doors closed silently and the elevator began its downward descent.

"Skinner has a brother in Springfield. He's the principal of a local public school there. He feels there is something strange going on," Mulder said as he passed another manila folder to his partner.

Scully browsed through the contents of the second folder. "So you think it's related to this case?" Scully said skeptically.

"Five years ago, there was a slaying of a local girl in a small town in Washington state. Her name was Laura Palmer. An investigation by Special Agent Dale Cooper resulted in the arrest of her father, Leland Palmer," Mulder explained.

"I remember that. He was certified insane," Scully added.

"I re-read a secret memo that Cooper wrote. He believed that Leland Palmer had been possessed by a non-corporeal entity that called itself 'Bob'," Mulder continued.

"And now you think that this entity has possessed Ned Flanders," Scully surmised.

"Look at the date," Mulder said as he pointed to the Springfield police file, "exactly five years to the day of Laura Palmer's murder."

The elevator doors opened and they stepped out. Ahead of them, bright sunlight streamed in through the double glass doors. "Cooper believed that Bob escaped from Twin Peaks and that it would only be a matter of time before he resurfaced," Mulder said.

As they both stepped outside, Scully countered, "Mulder, I think this is just a simple case of murder. I'll believe it when I see some evidence that it is something else..."

An owl landed on the lamp post that stood at the edge of the parking lot. It looked about, and followed the movements of the two figures walking towards a beige Ford Taurus. Soon...

"Dear lord, what have I done?" Ned Flanders thought as he clutched his head and looked heavenward.

Instead of seeing the starry sky, there was only the cracking plaster ceiling of the holding cell which he occupied. Just two days earlier, he was in the town meeting and the next he knew he was being accused of shooting Mr. Burns. Why was this happening? He didn't even have a gun. And as far as anyone knew, the weapon used, Mr. Burns' own revolver, was still missing. It was that infernal Homer Simpson, that foul-mouthed and simple minded neighbour of his. And now he was going to rot in the bowels of Springfield for god knows how long. "Why have you forsaken me, oh lord?" Ned cried out.

"Hey, pipe it down in there! Some of us are trying to do some reading here!" the muscular bald man in the next cell shouted.

"Sorry," Ned said meekly.

What had he done to enrage his heavenly host? Ned thought for a moment, and then his eyes widened. It must have been that time he watched an entire episode of Baywatch. He had meant to switch the channel, but the social issue being dealt with that week intrigued him. Now he was in eternal damnation for a moment of weakness...

"Well, here we are, Springfield," Scully said as she put the car into park.

Mulder opened the door and stepped out. The streets were relatively quiet. The only sign of life on the street was a Kwik-E-Mart. "It's awfully dark here, Mulder. Is there supposed to be an eclipse today?"

Mulder looked up and answered, "Evidently, Mr. Burns was trying to increase the usage of his power."

Scully looked towards the horizon, and saw the large metal disk blocking out the sun. They both stood in awe of the fantastic feat of engineering, only to be distracted by a noise at the Kwik-E-Mart.

The owner, an Indian gentleman, was yelling at a man walking away from him. "And don't come back if you are going to complain about the expiry dates on my pastries!" the man yelled as we waved his fist in the air.

Apu went back into his store and thought to himself, "I must use a darker marker to black out the expiry dates from now on..."

"I think it will be faster if we split up. I'll go check out Ned Flander's story," Scully said.

"...and that leaves me to check out Homer Simpson's. I think his house is just a few minutes walk from here. You take the car. I'll meet you back here in one hour," Mulder said.

"Yo, Flanders. You have a visitor!" the police officer said.

The officer opened the door to Ned's cell and Scully walked in. The door closed behind her and locked. Ned was sitting down on the spartan bed nailed to the wall. "Hello, Mr. Flanders. My name is Dana Scully and I'm from the FBI. I'm here to investigate the shooting of Mr. Burns," Scully said as she offered her hand.

Flanders shook it and sighed. "Maybe you could tell me what happened, in your own words," Scully suggested.

"I don't see what good this will do, but I always cooperate with the authorities. I honestly don't remember what happened between the time that Mr. Burns showed up at the town hall meeting and when he was found shot. It's like there is a hole in my head..." Flanders said as a tear rolled down his face and landed on his green sweater.

"You don't remember anything at all?" Scully probed.

"No!" Ned said in an irritated manner, "I just keep having these strange dreams..."

"Dreams?" Scully said.

"When I fall asleep, I see strange images... an owl, an open flame, a man in blue jeans with long greying hair... make them stop!" Ned shouted as he clutched his head.

"Guard!" Scully shouted as she backed away to the door.

The waiting officer quickly unlocked the door. Before Scully could step outside, Ned rushed her and pushed her aside. The officer, taken by surprise, fell over and Ned rushed out of the cell and down the hallway to freedom...

"It was him! I saw him in the alleyway wrestling with Mr. Burns! He then grabbed his gun and shot him with it!" Homer said triumphantly to the calm FBI agent in his living room.

Maggie looked on in feigned interest, sucking on her pacifier. "How long have you known Ned Flanders?" Mulder asked.

"That goody-goody makes me sick! With such a nice family, a nice house, a nice garden, with love and respect... they should outlaw such things. They make the rest of us look bad!" Homer said.

Mulder quietly rolled his eyes and continued, "Do you remember anything else?"

"Now that you mention it," Homer said pensively, "Ned said the strangest thing after he shot him..."

Homer sat there silently in awe. Mulder looked at him expectantly. "And that was..." Mulder said.

"Fire, walk with me...?" Homer answered, "Now what does that mean?"

The owl landed on top of the Ford Taurus. A little boy with spiky hair, armed with a slingshot quietly approached it. He aimed and carefully pulled back on the slingshot. With a quick wrist action, he let the pebble fly. It sailed through the air and hit the owl on the back. The owl stood still, almost frozen, and looked at its attacker. The boy backed away slowly, sensing the impending danger. The owl opened its enormous wingspan, and flew towards the boy. "Aye carumba!" the boy yelled as he took off on his skateboard as fast as he could.

The high pitched beeping of Mulder's cellular phone interrupted the conversation with Homer. Mulder reached into his jacket pocket and extracted the phone. "Mulder," he said in a monotone voice.

It was Scully's voice. "He's escaped!" she announced.

"When?" Mulder replied.

"I was in the middle of questioning him and he just bolted before any of us could react. I think he's gotten hold of a gun," Scully said.

"I'll keep an eye out for him. His house is just next door," Mulder said.

"I'll coordinate with the Springfield Police Department to track him down," Scully said.

"Okay. Call me if you have anything," Mulder said.

Scully pressed END on her cellular. She then turned to the police chief, who was busily eating donuts. "Do you have any cars on the street right now?" Scully asked.

The police chief swallowed quickly and answered, "Uhh, let me see. I'll radio and see who's around."

He waddled over to the police radio and flicked a switch up. "Calling all cars! If you are nearby headquarters, please report in. Ned Flanders has escaped from his cell and is possibly armed, over," he said.

There was a moment of silence. "Car 18 to headquarters, we're parked outside the coffee shop down the street from you..." a voice said.

"Brad's Donuts?" the police chief queried.

"No, the one on Main, next to the dry cleaners," the voice answered.

"Oh, the Springfield Coffee Shop!"

"No, you're thinking of Honey Donuts on Maple."

Scully cleared her throat. "Uhh, never mind, do you see any sign of Flanders?"

"No, nothing to report. Just a jogger in a green sweater running down Fourth screaming..."

"I don't believe this!" Scully shouted, "That's him!"

"Uhh, Car 18, do you still have him in sight?"

"That's a negative... he passed by here a few minutes ago..."

Mulder looked out the picture window of the Simpson living room, across the litter strewn lawn, and into the pristine and freshly clipped yard belonging to Flanders. Two children were playing on the lawn. To Mulder, they looked as if they were re-enacting Revelations. But no sign of Ned Flanders.

There was a knock at the door. Homer got up and opened it. Homer screamed. "No! Not you!"

Mulder spun around and drew his semiautomatic handgun from its holster and pointed it at the door. The door swung open all the way to reveal Homer's twin sisters-in-law. "Who's your cute guest pointing his gun at us?" Patti asked as her eyes widened.

Mulder put his gun away and approached the two women. "I'm FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder. I'm investigating the..." Mulder said.

"Mmmm, he is cute... even cuter than MacGyver" Selma said to her twin.

"And what can I get you, cousin?" the waitress of the Shelbyville Diner asked as she noisily chewed her gum.

The man with the combed back dark hair looked up from the menu and noted the name on the waitress' nametag. "Flo," he said, "bring me your best cup of coffee, black, and a slice of blueberry pie!"

Flo smiled back at the handsome stranger and wrote the order down. She then turned to the woman seated directly opposite him. "And how 'bout you, miss?" Flo asked.

"Just a hot chocolate, please," the brunette said with a southern accent.

Flo went behind the counter and gathered up the order. She returned to the booth with the coffee, the hot chocolate, and the piece of pie. As she turned to return to her other tables, the man asked her a question. "Flo, can you tell us how to get to Springfield from here?"

Flo graciously gave directions to the lovely couple and returned to her duties. Moments later, she heard the man exclaim loudly, "Damn good coffee!"

The Springfield police force assembled at headquarters. Scully got their attention and the rumbling of chatter stopped. "We have a fugitive. He escaped approximately fifteen minutes ago. Given a human running speed of 15 km per hour, we will begin with a search radius of 4 km. We will need to set up roadblocks at 10 km. You will check every gas station, truck stop, diner, school house, out house and dog house. The fugitive's name is Ned Flanders," Scully said, "Dismissed!"

The officers bumped into each other as they attempted to leave the room at exactly the same time.

Flo graciously gave directions to the lovely couple and returned to her duties. Moments later, she heard the man exclaim loudly, "Damn good coffee!"

Flo crunched up her eyebrows as waitresses seldomly do, and starred at the Nabob pot. "I wonder if I'll get a tip out of this." Chewing on her Trident gum, she wandered to the back of the counter. Alice, Flo's co-waitress-worker was making Minute Rice and grits -- the perfect combination for a sunny Springfield day. "Madge, get me some g**-damned dishwater ready, I need to soak these pots!" Alice shouted. Madge was busy sitting on her duff soaking her fingers. Did she really think she could do her nails all day and get paid for it? Alice wondered.

Suddenly, a man dressed all in white burst through the door of the cafe. He was very clean with a white toupee and smelled of lemons. "Hi there, sweetheart." the man, known by the neighbours as Mr. Clean, said to Flo. Flo lazily turned her head towards Mr. Clean's direction and replied "Table for one?". He had this annoying sparkle everytime he smiled, it just turned Flo's stomach. White is just not his colour she thought to herself. This man is obviously a Fall and should be wearing taupes, bronzes and coppers. She pulled a Kleenex from her pocket and wiped the spittle from her chin.

"Hey, listen to this" Alice exclaimed as she turned the T.V. up. "Ned Flanders has escaped from the county jail and is considered armed and dangerous. And now a word from our sponsors, Brad's donuts" the T.V. droned.

As the roadblocks went up around Springfield, and the police officers of the Springfield police Department hurried to check out every donut store in town, nobody noticed the black late-model sedan pull into town. After easing into the parking space, the driver rolled down the darkly-tinted window, and silently watched the activity unfolding before him. He gently rubbed the scar on his left cheek, the result of a run-in with a VC when he was in country back in '68. 'Scarface' was what they now called him. He picked up the handset for the car phone and dialed the unlisted number that he had memorized before setting out.

Deep within the bowels of the world's largest office building, the Pentagon, a phone rang on a mahogany desk in a small office behind an unmarked door in a little-used corridor. The woman sitting at the desk diverted her attention from the thick pile of reports and picked up the phone. "I'm in place," Scarface told her.

"You are authorized to proceed," the woman answered, offering no hint of emotion.

She then hung up the phone. She lit up a cigarette and returned to the reports that she had been reading.

Scarface took a swish of the now-cold coffee and relaxed into the leather seat. The rhythmic beating of a helicopter grew louder...

... the lush green jungle rushed by as the Bell-Huey flew slightly above tree-level to escape detection from the enemy SAM's that were lurking below. Conrad rubbed the back of his neck, sticky from the dirt and the humidity. The sun was getting low in the sky, which was gradually becoming darker and darker. "We're coming up on the LZ, get ready Conrad!" the pilot shouted.

A clearing appeared below and the helicopter descended. When it reached a height of ten feet off the ground, the helicopter stopped its descent and hovered. Conrad grabbed his equipment and jumped out into the waist-high grass. As he dashed towards the nearby thicket of trees, the helicopter took off and turned back to return to the base. Once he was under the protective cover of the foliage, he sat quietly still to listen for any enemy movement. Only the quiet chirping of crickets permeated the night air. He was all alone.

Vinh Truong limped slowly through the jungle, swatting the mosquitoes off of his face. His black tunic was soaked with the blood from the bullet wound in his side. His squad was ambushed by the Americans, but they had managed to eradicate them. But then two jets flew by and cut them down with napalm. As the jungle burned around him, Vinh lay in the foxhole, nursing his bullet wound. The bloody Americans. Now only he was left, out of ammunition and his life slowly slipping away. He had wandered around the jungle for hours, and now that the sun was gone, he had no way of telling if he was going in the right direction. Vinh grimaced and carried on.

Conrad mentally ran through his mission. Approximately half a click from the LZ was a concealed opening to a tunnel that the VC used to ferry supplies and people between the front lines and the North. His mission was to find this tunnel and collapse it with the C4 that was stashed in his pack. The top brass determined that it would be more effective to send one man in instead of a platoon, due to the high expectation of VC in the area. So the man they chose was Conrad, Special Forces. He released the safety on his carbine and pushed forward into the lush green darkness.

Vinh could really feel the weakness in his legs now, but he pushed himself. Just a few more minutes and he would be at the tunnel.

Dead ahead, Conrad thought to himself. The entrance to the tunnel was a few feet in front of him, partially obscured by camouflage and foliage. Conrad dropped his backpack onto the floor and unzipped it. He reached inside and pulled out a rectangular block of C4. He unzipped a side pocket and grabbed a couple of detonators.

Vinh was just a few feet away from the tunnel when he stopped and dropped to the ground. A man in camouflage gear was kneeling in front of the entrance to the tunnel, pulling items from a bag. Vinh pulled his knife out of its sheath, and silently crept towards the tunnel.

Conrad pulled the camouflage and foliage back and probed the tunnel with his flashlight, his finger on the trigger of the carbine. All clear.

The man had his back turned to Vinh. The dagger was raised high in the air, catching the light of the full moon overhead.

Conrad heard a noise behind him and turned around. The glint of metal filled his vision as something cut across his face. The warm wet blood spilled down his cheek as Conrad tried to raise his carbine. Before he had a chance, the attacker jumped on him. With the blade only a few inches away from him, Conrad struggled to prevent the knife from making contact. The two men rolled around, with each man momentarily gaining advantage, only to lose it seconds later. In the last seconds of the struggle, Conrad thrust with all his might, and his attacker made wet breathing sounds, followed by silence. The expression of hatred across the boy's face vanished, to be replaced by calm.

Vinh's body relaxed and Conrad pushed it off. Conrad lay on his back and caught his breath as the blood continued to pour from his cheek. As he lay there staring at the stars overhead in the clear sky, he listened to the quiet chirping of the crickets and dreamt of home...

The thumping of the helicopter faded as Scarface took another swish of cold coffee.

Mulder did his best to be polite to Patti and Selma while keeping an eye on the Flanders household. As Patti chattered on and on about DMV horror stories, Mulder stared out the picture window into the yard next door. The sun was high in the sky and the two Flanders children were being called in for lunch. As the two children scurried into the house, Mulder thought back to his youth and the good times of his childhood, when he still had a sister.

Mulder smiled briefly, but that moment of peace was interrupted by a figure across the street, running towards the Flanders home. By instinct, Mulder leapt into action, running out of the Simpson household. "Now look what you've done!" Homer shouted at his two sisters-in-law.

"Ned Flanders! FBI! Halt!" Mulder ordered as he drew his gun.

Ned ignored the man chasing him and continued running toward the house. Part of him wanted to see his family who he missed, and the other part of him needed hostages to get away from the police. As he reached the front door, he pulled out the revolver that he had stolen from the police station and pointed it at his pursuer. Mulder saw the bright glint of metal and hit the ground. A loud bang echoed through the residential neighbourhood. The bullet tore into the lawn, a few inches from Mulder's head. Mulder aimed his gun at Ned, but stopped. Ned was standing with his back to the front door, and if Mulder missed, the bullet would easily cut through the front door of the house and injure someone inside the house.

"Mrs. Flanders," he shouted, "This is the FBI! Don't open the door! Take you children and go to the basement!"

Flanders continued firing, and Mulder dashed towards some shelter from the hail of bullets. At that point, a police car with its lights flashing pulled in front of the house. Two officers stepped out, coffees in hand. Ned took aim at the interlopers, but only an empty click sounded. In disgust, he threw the pistol onto the ground. He then dashed to the backyard.

Mulder, seeing a moment of opportunity, chased after Ned. "Secure the area. Make sure Mrs. Flanders and the kids are alright!" he told the officers as he rounded the corner of the house.

Mulder saw Ned hop over the fence in the backyard. What ensued was a wild chase through backyards through the neighbourhood, weaving in and out through the community, much like the dotted line cartoons of 'Family Circus'.

Ned saw an open basement window in the house of Reverend Lovejoy and slipped in feet first. Mulder saw Ned's hand just before it disappeared in the darkness of the basement window.

A weapon, Ned thought, I need a weapon. He looked quickly among the dusty shelves. He picked up a hammer that was lying on the ground and felt its weight in his hand. Then his eye caught something else. He dropped the hammer and picked up the baseball bat. He gave it a good swing. Then he noticed an ornamental ball-and-chain hanging on the wall. He dropped the baseball bat and grabbed the ball-and-chain off its holder on the wall. Then he noticed the sword in another room. He dropped the ball-and-chain and carefully lifted the sword off of its holder. He swung it. Then he noticed the chainsaw. He smiled.

Mulder crawled into the dark basement. Odd shadows fell on the walls and the scurrying noises of mice could be heard. To his right, he could hear a shuffling of feet. "Ned! This is the FBI! There's nowhere to go!" he said as he pointed his gun forward.

The next sound he heard was unexpected. It sounded like a chainsaw...

As Bob stood with the chainsaw in hand, ready to swing it down upon the FBI agent, his mind wandered to the past...

...he wasn't always a disembodied spirit. Thirty years ago or so, he mopped the floors at UCLA. It wasn't the greatest job in the world, but it paid the bills and left him a little extra for the weekend. He remembered signing up for this psychological experiment where they paid him a cool fifty dollars to do some tests. Easy money he had thought.

He remembered the room with the spartan beds lining the walls. He was directed to one of them and told to disrobe to his underwear. A man in a white coat approached him and said that he was going to give him a needle, "something to help you relax" he had said.

"It's not going to hurt a bit," the man said.

A sharp sting went into his arm, and within seconds, the overhead fluorescent lights became brighter in a strange sort of way. He closed his eyes and...

...and the next thing he knew, he was floating. He looked down and he could see his still pale body in the bed with the men in the white coats trying to revive him. They weren't able to.

Bob was angry. Everything he had been told was a lie, and he wanted to make somebody pay. With the rage came an absolute power. Power over flesh.

Bob's thoughts wandered to the first time he exercised this new found power. He occupied a body, a stranger out of the crowd, one afternoon in Los Angeles. He walked as if in a dream into the hotel and made his way into the kitchen. Chefs and busboys scurried about, preparing the night's dinners. A waitress ran in and shouted, "He's coming!"

Immediately, the kitchen became silent as the kitchen staff waited for the honoured guest to pass through. Bob stood among them, clutching a revolver in his coat pocket.

A sound of distant clapping could be heard. Moments later, a young man surrounded by an entourage of body guards and reporters burst into the kitchen. The men and women around Bob began to clap. The young man came closer, almost close enough to touch. Bob pulled the revolver from his coat pocket and aimed.

A staccato burst of shots echoed through the kitchen. The young man fell. Immediately, a deluge of bodies descended upon Bob. One hand pushed his shooting arm down towards a table. An arm grabbed his neck.

Soon he was on the ground, surrounded by horrified screams and shouting. "We don't want another Dallas!" he could hear a man shout.

Bob's thoughts then wandered to all the places he had been. After leaving the small town of Twin Peaks, he had continued just north of the border in a small town in Canada. And after the authorities there were on his trail, he drifted back into the United States. The last place he had been before this place was Los Angeles.

Yet despite all his wandering, he had never exacted his revenge on those who had done this to him. Those who had stolen his life. Until now.

With his mind returning to the present, Bob thrust the chainsaw down...

Old man Simpson sat in the upstairs room that his son had prepared for him after the unfortunate incident with Mr. Burns oil drilling rig at the old age home. He sat in the rocking chair, watching Oprah. It couldn't get much worse than this, he thought. He had to leave the old age home, he had lost all those precious sunbathing magazines, and worst of all, no new Matlock episodes to watch. He sighed.

Suddenly, the screen went blank and in bold white letters were the words:

Kill'em all

Old man Simpson blinked.

Kill'em all

He rubbed his eyes, thinking his old eyes were playing tricks on him.

Kill'em all now

He felt blood rush to his head as his heart started pounding.

They're coming to get you. Kill'em now!

A rage built up inside him. He stood up, ready to explode. Then the arthritis in his back made him wince in pain. He sat back down, panting. He sighed. Maybe not, he thought.

Scully skidded the car to a halt in the middle of the street. She undid the seatbelt and bolted out of the car, not even bothering to shut the engine off. The two police cars that accompanied her also skidded to a halt behind her. One of them knocked the bumper of the Taurus, causing it to jolt.

The police radio dispatcher had this area pinpointed as the last known location of her partner. Scully pulled the gun out of her holster and ran towards the house.

"Good morning Mr. Burns!" the oriental man with the thick wire-rimmed glasses and the white coat announced as he raised the venetian blinds of the hospital room.

The comatose patient in the bed remained silent. The only noises that could be heard were the machinery keeping Mr. Burns' body alive, and the muted sounds from the hospital ward outside. "And how are we today?" Dr. Hu asked rhetorically.

He looked over the charts from the night before. Though Mr. Burns was stable, he was nowhere nearer to recovering from the gunshot-induced coma. He also noticed that the serum creatinine was beginning to become a little elevated, a marker for the development of kidney failure. If Mr. Burns didn't come out of this soon, the prognosis would be serious, indeed.

"Looks like a beautiful day... it's a shame you're missing all of the nice weather," Dr. Hu said as he adjusted the D5W flow rate.

Deep in the recesses of the brain of Montgomery Burns was a spark. Not the usual robust energy of the normal human brain, but more of a murmur or a whisper. Within the spark was the world that Mr. Burns currently inhabited. A small area of light in the midst of darkness. Every now and then, a voice would attempt to strike up a conversation with him.

"Leave me alone, you blithering idiot!" Mr. Burns shouted back, "I don't care to talk to you about the weather!"

"I'll come back and check on you later this evening. I'll see to it that Ms. Moore checks in on you later on this afternoon," the voice bellowed in an annoyingly pleasant manner.

"Excellent. Peace and quiet at last, until that annoyingly happy nurse with all the cute words and phrases gets here!" Burns said. To no one in particular.

Scully knocked down the door and peered in cautiously, not knowing what to expect. She heard some noise coming from the basement. A slightly ajar door stood in front of her. She breathed in deeply and cocked the gun.

Mulder turned quickly to the loud buzzing of the chainsaw. As he saw the dark figure beginning the downward thrust, he knew that there was no time to shoot. No time to think. No time to breathe. No time...

There was a bright flash and an explosion of sparks above Mulder's head. Bob/Ned suddenly realized that the chainsaw was no longer in his hands. Instead, it lay in a crumpled heap on the floor six feet away. Bob/Ned turned around and saw the silhouette of a woman coming down the stairs from the ground floor. "Mulder, are you okay?" Scully shouted out into the darkness.

Mulder caught his breath and lifted himself from the cold concrete floor. "I'm okay Scully."

As the heart rates of both Mulder and Scully began to slow and the blood levels of adrenaline fell, something unexpected happened. A bright white light came from Ned, and in the blinding white light, Mulder could see the feathery outline of a bird.

The light faded and the basement was dark again. Mulder found a piece of string suspended from the ceiling and pulled it. An electric glow bathed the room.

"Well, okily dokily... hey what am I doing here?" Ned said, confused.

Three figures walked out of the house of Reverend Lovejoy. Mulder passed Ned to the waiting police chief. "After you question him, let him go," Mulder said.

"What? After what he's done?" the police chief protested.

"He's not the one you're looking for, anymore. The real killer has escaped," Scully interjected.

As the two FBI agents reached the Taurus with the engine still running, a blue Chevrolet Caprice pulled up along side. A man and a woman stepped out. From their outfits, Scully guessed that they were fellow FBI agents.

"Special Agent Fox Mulder?" the man asked.

"Yes?" Mulder replied.

The man approached with his hand out. "Agent Mulder, I'm Special Agent Dale Cooper. I've heard a lot about you," the man said.

Mulder shook Cooper's hand. "And I've heard a lot about you, too," Mulder said, "And this is my partner, Special Agent Dana Scully."

"Pleased to meet you, your work is legendary," Scully complimented.

"Thank you, Agent Scully. Let me introduce to you my partner..." Cooper said.

"Yes, you're Clarise Starling," Scully said with a glimmer of recognition.

"You still remember me from the Academy," Clarise smiled.

"A small world," Cooper commented, "Now, after we get settled in, we have to meet and discuss about Bob."

The cellar was cool and damp. Clarise Starling tried her best to make out shapes in the vast darkness that engulfed her, but to no avail. She had found the house where Buffalo Bill did unspeakable horrors to his victims, and now she was going to be one herself if she didn't act quickly. Never had she felt so helpless in her life. Nothing in the FBI academy prepared her for a situation like this.

Clarise moved cautiously through the dark, searching for a wall to put her back against. The grip of the gun became loose in her sweaty hands. The silence was only punctuated by her own breathing and the muffled shouts of Buffalo Bill's latest victim, trapped in a deep pit in another room.

She heard a noise behind her... the cocking of a pistol. Instinctively, she swung around...

"Clarise," a voice called out to her.

Starling woke up, and found herself in the passenger seat of the car that had brought her to Springfield. She was a bit embarrassed that she had fallen asleep, since it was only a few minutes ride from the motel they were staying at.

"Are you alright?" Cooper asked as he set the parking brake.

Starling straightened up and answered, "I'm fine. I must have dozed off."

She was lying, of course. The case that had propelled her career a few short years ago always had a bad habit of coming to haunt her during sleep. Despite all the cases that she had worked on and all the times when her life was on the line, the Buffalo Bill case would always figure prominently and wake her in the middle of the night, gasping for air.

"Well you needed it. The last few days have been rough. Anyways, we're here," Cooper said.

Starling looked out the window to see the flickering neon sign of the Roadhouse. Up ahead of them was the car of agents Mulder and Scully.

As they were being led to their table, the discussion was animated between the foursome of FBI agents, catching up for a few years and discussing the cases that they had worked on in the past. They passed an empty stage bathed in a blue light, with instruments set up. "You're in luck this evening," the waitress said, "we don't usually get too many live bands her at the Roadhouse, but tonight is one of those nights."

The Roadhouse had seen better days. Many years ago, it had been the hot spot for all of Springfield, but as time went by, newer places opened up and the Roadhouse fell by the wayside. Still, once in a while, a recognizable band would come to perform. But it was hard to top the time that Moe's had Aerosmith. Lately, business had picked up with Moe's closing down because of Burns' oil rig.

"And here we are," the waitress said as she stopped at a booth which had a clear view of the stage.

Mulder, Scully, Starling, and Cooper took their seats and the waitress handed out the plastic-coated menus. "I'll be back to check on you in a minute," she said as she went off to help another table.

As Cooper looked at the daily specials, he thought about the remarkable resemblance between Fox Mulder and another FBI agent he used to work with, Dennis, who had a habit of dressing up as a woman. The resemblance was almost uncanny...

Bernard went through the last-minute mental checklist for the performance that was to begin in a few short moments. Everyone was more-or-less ready, but the first night in any city was always the roughest. They never knew how they would fare, how the sound would be, or how the crowd would be. But it was too late to worry about such things.

The band had come quite a ways since the early eighties, when they were the defining band for the now-Generation X'ers. It was quite an accomplishment, rising from the ashes of Joy Division. But the last few years, since the beginning of the 90's, had been rough for them, since the collapse of Factory Records, their independent label. Their last studio album was over 2 years ago and their latest release was no more than a best hits album with some remixes. And they had gone from sell-out crowds in major cities to second-rate places, like this one. Bernard almost felt as lame as the time they appeared live via satellite for Top of the Pops from the set of Baywatch in Los Angeles. But it paid the bills and kept their music alive, which were the important things. Maybe they could get back in the studio by year end...

"Two minutes," Jacques, the manager of the Roadhouse shouted.

The waitress wrote the orders down in the pad she kept in her pocket and scurried off. Mulder turned his attention back to Cooper, and asked, "So, what is it that you can tell me about Bob?"

Cooper's eyes lit up with a ferocious intensity as he began, "About a month ago, Clarise and I were on assignment in Chicago when I received a cryptic phone call. They asked me to meet them in the parking garage of the Federal Building because they had information that I would find useful."

"And what did you learn?" Scully asked.

"The man, who would not give his name, gave me a file folder. In that file folder was some information about experiments that were done in the 60's that involved injecting subjects with mind-altering substances," Cooper said.

"Yes, we came across experiments on army personnel in our work. The government was attempting to build a better soldier," Mulder said.

"However, these experiments were done on civilians and they were attempting to build a better assassin," Starling interjected.

The group of three men and one woman assembled on the stage, bathed in the blue light. A rhythmic drumbeat began. The assembled crowd seated about the tables and the bar turned their attention towards the stage. Short staccato synthesizer notes joined the drumbeat, followed by a bass-line. Bernard approached the microphone...

Every time I think of you,
I feel a shock right through like a bolt of blue.
It's a problem of mine and it's a problem I find,
Living a life I can't leave behind.

"During these experiments, volunteers were gathered at UCLA and injected with various substances to test their psychological response. One of the volunteers was given an accidental overdose, which resulted in his death," Cooper said.

"And the volunteer's name was..." Scully said, knowing what was to come next.

"Bob Silva was a janitor that worked at UCLA. Unknown to the researchers at that time, the drug they were using, derived from a hallucinogenic mushroom, somehow unleashed his spirit and allowed it to manifest itself," Cooper said.

"And now he has become the perfect killer... able to assume any body and then escape if detected," Mulder said, thinking back to the case earlier this year where hallucinogenic mushrooms broke the barrier between the living and the dead.

The lights on the stage changed from blue to red.
Every time I see you falling,
I get down on my knees and pray.
I'm waiting for that final moment,
You see the words that I can't say.

"But why is he here now? The shooting of Montgomery Burns does not fit in his pattern..." Scully said.

"One of the scientists involved in the experiments was Montgomery Burns," Cooper answered.

"Were there any other names involved in the experiments?" Mulder asked.

"There were..." Cooper said.

"But?" Scully said.

"In the past two weeks, all have died under mysterious circumstances. We came here to Springfield to get to Burns before Bob did," Starling said.

I feel fine and I feel good,
I feel like I never should.
Whenever I get this way,
I just don't know what to say,
Why can't we be ourselves like we were yesterday?

"Well, Burns is under police guard right now," Scully said.

"And what is his condition?" Starling asked.

"He's in a coma. I've told the doctor to call us if his condition changes," Scully answered.

Every time I see you falling,
I get down on my knees and pray.
I'm waiting for that final moment,
You see the words that I can't say.

In the four-story apartment building across from the Roadhouse, three figures occupied a small kitchen. The oriental woman had her back to the other two, the young man with the crew cut and the blonde. "I don't believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug, or a rabbit!" the oriental woman said angrily as she articulated with her right hand.

The man leaned over and said, "You know, you're a real 'up' person," as the blonde glared at the oriental woman menacingly.

Every time I see you falling,
I get down on my knees and pray.
I'm waiting for that final moment,
You see the words that I can't say.

A few stories underneath the kitchen, a black late-model sedan waited on the street, blending into the night. There was a small point of light as Scarface lit up a cigarette and sucked in. The smoke drifted from the end of the lit cigarette as if in a slow ballet, tumbling and twirling.

Scarface listened intently through the headphones connected to the electronic device in his left hand, a parabolic dish with an antenna. It was pointed at the Roadhouse, particularly to a booth occupied by four FBI agents. As the amplified conversation continued, Scarface scribbled down shorthand notes in the pad on his lap.

Principal Skinner approached the Quimby Centre for the Performing Arts, with two tickets for the night's opera in his hand. Many of the well-to-do of Springfield were present, dressed in their best clothes for an evening of culture, often lacking in this small town. As he came to the stone steps leading up to the double-doors, he saw the man standing a few feet away. He was tall. The black leather jacket was the same colour as his shoulder length hair. The eyes had a penetrating quality. In his hands, he held a hastily-written cardboard sign that read 'I NEED ONE TICKET PLEASE'.

Skinner stopped. The tall man smiled silently. "I have one extra ticket," Skinner said as he held up the tickets in his hand.

Bernard strapped the YAMAHA ELECTRIC GUITAR onto his shoulder and sat down on the four-legged wooden stool that he had brought onto the stage, now lit by a kaleidoscope of colours. After a pause, he played a couple of chords, the electric buzzing amplified by the BOSE SPEAKERS at either side of the stage. The drumbeat then kicked in.

Maybe I'd forgotten,
The name and the address,
Of everyone I've ever known,
It's nothing I regret.

Outside, in the black FORD LTD, Scarface packed away the high-tech listening device into the SAMSONITE briefcase on the passenger seat, and started the engine. As he pulled the car out of the parking spot, he heard a loud beeping and hit the brakes. A DOMINO'S PIZZA delivery vehicle whizzed by. Scarface checked the mirror and continued on his way.

I would like a place I can call my own,
Have a conversation on the telephone.
Wake up everyday,
That would be a start,
I would not complain of my wounded heart.
I was upset you see,
Almost all the time.
You used to be a stranger,
Now you are mine.

As Cooper wiped his mouth with the napkin, he saw a face in the corner of his eye. He turned towards the window, and saw a man standing outside, looking in. Starling noticed something had caught her partner's attention as she sipped the last of her DIET COKE, and she looked up.

The man was overweight, with messy brown hair and bloodshot eyes. He was clearly looking at Cooper. There were a few moments of silence, and then the man belched. "What does it mean?" Starling asked.

Cooper shook his head and answered, "I don't know..."

Scully gave Mulder the "what the hell is going on?" look. Mulder shrugged his shoulders.

Cooper turned away from the man in the window and saw a little boy standing next to the table. He was wearing a white paper-mache mask and a dark suit. The mask had no discernible eyes nor mouth, but it did have a long protruding nose. "The man in the picture is coming tomorrow morning after he finds a way," a soft voice said.

Cooper nodded his head and said, "I understand."

"Who are you talking to?" Scully asked as she watched Cooper nodding at thin air.

Cooper turned to Scully and said, "Burns is in danger."

Cooper then noticed the boy was gone. "From Bob?" Mulder asked.

"Yes," Cooper answered.

"Then we better get going," Starling said, as she prepared to leave.

Cooper rested his hand on her arm. "Bob won't come until tomorrow. Not until he has found a way. We can rest tonight," Cooper said.

Scully pulled out her NOKIA CELLULAR PHONE and began dialing. "Just to be sure, I'll make sure the guards at Burns' room stay on full alert," she said as she put it next to her ear.

Tonya walked down the dark Springfield street, the type of walk that told other pedestrians not to mess with her. Times had been tough lately, and she felt as if the whole world was against her. That stupid husband of hers couldn't keep his mouth shut and now he was rotting away in jail. The producer who promised her a movie role was another let-down. Now she was broke and drifting aimlessly across America.

The America that used to be hers. She was the one that had won the awards, whose face shone on a million television screens... But no more. She was a has-been. Desperate times require desperate measures.

Alex wandered down the aisles of the Kwik-E-Mart. He scanned the messy shelves and ran his fingers through his curly brown hair as he though where shaving supplies would logically be kept. He had arrived from Detroit and after unpacking at the HOLIDAY INN, he realized that he had forgotten to bring his REMINGTON MICROSCREEN SHAVER. So he drove around town and this was the only place open. Alex gave up trying to find it on his own and he approached the man reading the newspaper behind the front counter. "Excuse me, do you sell the GILLETTE SENSOR RAZOR?" Alex asked.

Apu put down his USA TODAY and sighed. "Yes, if you go down the third aisles halfway to the back, past the LIPTON'S ICE TEA, near the floor, you'll see it," he said.

"Thank you," Alex said as he returned to his quest.

Just as Alex walked to the back of the store, a petite woman with thin blonde hair tied back into a ponytail came in through the automatic doors. She approached the counter and grabbed a pack of WRIGLEY'S DOUBLE MINT from the rack and dropped it on the counter. Apu went to the register and rang in the purchase. Tonya gave him a five-dollar bill. As the cash drawer slid open, Tonya reached into her jacked and pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. She pumped it and stuck it into Apu's face. "Empty the register!" she ordered.

Apu stood there stunned. "I said empty the **&%$#@ register!" Tonya shouted.

The clicking of the shotgun caught the attention of Alex, who had finally found the shaving supplies. Though he was clearly out of his jurisdiction, the sense of duty he inherited from his father, also a police officer on the Detroit police force, compelled him to do something. He grabbed a can of CLARK'S PORK & BEANS from the shelf and headed to the front of the store.

Apu grabbed a plastic bag from the counter. His hands shook as he hastily stuffed large bills into it. Tonya looked around nervously and shouted, "Hurry up!"

Out of nowhere, a can came sailing through the air and bonked her on the back of the head. The shotgun slipped from her hands as she tried to keep her balance. As the bright flickering lights filled her vision, she tried to pick up the dropped shotgun. Before she was able to reach it, it was pulled away. "Don't move, creep," a voice bellowed.

Tonya's right hand reached to her back where she had hidden another gun. But Alex saw what she was trying to do and said, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

Tonya realized how futile it was and put her hands up. It was over.

"Thank you stranger. Are you a police officer? If so, I don't remember ever paying a bribe to you in the past," Apu said, barely containing his elation.

"Actually, I'm from Detroit. I'm with the police there," Alex said, "Just here to visit your nice town. Oh, my name's Alex. Alex Murphy."

That night, back at the motel they were staying at, Mulder and Scully gave in to the moment and they made wild passionate love...

Uh, maybe not. That would ruin the series, much like how Moonlighting went down hill. Let me start again...

That night, back at the motel, Scully rested her head on the pillow and closed her eyes, and before she realized, she was asleep.

Bob had flown through Springfield for hours searching for a new body to occupy. He looked down and saw a man snoring on a lawn chair. Yes, he would be perfect. Bob swooped down and entered the body...

Scully found herself in a room. Though she could not see any walls, plush red curtains delineated the outline of the room. She looked down at her feet and saw that she was standing on a marble floor, decorated with a black and white zigzag pattern. All around her she could hear ethereal jazz music. A few feet in front of her, there was a dwarf in a red suit and an old woman in black. Both were sitting at a table. Scully approached them.

The dwarf spoke as he stroked the top of the table. His speech was slow and slurred, making it difficult to understand. It sounded to Scully like, "This is a formica table. Green is its colour."

Black dog running at night, black dog running at night...

Scully saw movement to her right. She turned and saw a small boy dressed in a dark suit prancing about. She could not see his face, because it was covered by a white mask. The mask had no discernible eyes nor mouth, but it did have a nose of considerable length.

Scully turned her attention back to the dwarf. "Who are you?" she asked, her voice echoing.

The dwarf turned to face her. The old woman continued to stare forward. "Do you know my name?" the dwarf asked as he smiled.

Scully shook her head, straining to understand the words of the strange little man. The boy stopped his prancing and tapped Scully on the arm. Scully looked down and the boy said, "Be very quiet, or he might hear you."

The colour red filled Scully's vision and she felt the plush curtains brush over her face. The dwarf now stood in front of her. Next to the dwarf stood a man with long greying hair. He was dressed in jeans and he had a dirty jean jacket on. His face showed only anger. He growled at Scully, and she could see his teeth. They were yellow. Scully stepped back in fear. A voice inside her told her that this must be Bob. "We live inside a dream," the dwarf said.

The image of Bob was then replaced by the image of a man that Scully had never seen before, which soon faded after a few seconds. The dwarf turned around and pulled back a curtain. He beckoned Scully to approach the opening. Scully stepped forward cautiously and looked through the opening. An elderly man, or to be more exact, Mr. Burns, was dancing to the jazz music that was all around. Scully looked down at the dwarf for an explanation, but he only said, "Not yet."

Scully woke up. She could see the first few rays of the morning sun shining through the window. She reached over to the night table and picked up her watch. 7:04. Time to get up, she thought as she dragged herself out of bed.

"Homey! Time to get up!" Marge said cheerfully.

Homer buried his head under the pillow and turned over. Marge shook his shoulder and repeated, "Time to get up!"

Get up you idiot!

Homer sat up, his eyes half-closed. "Mmmm... time to get up" he mumbled.

Deep within the Pentagon, a phone rang on a mahogany desk. The woman seated at the desk rested her cigarette on the ashtray and picked up the receiver.

"We have complete disclosure," Scarface said.

"Do you know the source?" the woman asked.

"No, but they did make contact with Agent Dale Cooper," Scarface answered.

The woman thought for a second. "Contain the situation," she said coldly.

Scarface then hung up.

The corridor on the sixth floor of the hotel was deserted. The cleaning lady pushed her cart down the carpeted hallway. As she passed one door, she could hear music coming from inside the room.

That's the price of love,
Can you feel it?
If we could buy it now,
How long will it last?

The door opened, and a tall man with shoulder length hair and a leather jacket stepped out. After he closed the door behind him, he stuffed the twenty dollar bills into his jeans pocket and headed towards the elevator.

If we could buy it now,
How long will it last?

Inside the hotel room, Principal Skinner sat on the double bed in his bathrobe and rested his wallet on his lap. As he turned to look out the window at the clear blue morning sky, a tear ran down his cheek.

"I had a dream last night, Mulder," Scully said as the car came to a rest at the red light.

"Really?" Mulder said, surprised that Scully was talking about her dreams, something she had never done before.

"I dreamt about Bob," Scully said.

"What happened in your dream?"

"I'm not too sure. It was very confusing. I was thinking about it when I woke up and as far as I can figure, he is going after Burns today and he has assumed a new body."

"And you saw the new body..."

"Yes, but I've never seen them before. He was a slightly overweight, balding man of less-than-average IQ..."

Before Scully could finish her sentence, Mulder said, "Homer Simpson."

The light turned green and Mulder hit the gas.

"Hey Homer!" Bart said as he sat down at the kitchen table and grabbed the box of the Krusty the Klown Krunchy Karbohydrate-Enriched Cereal.

Homer walked by without acknowledging his son. "Homey!" Marge called out, "Aren't you going to eat breakfast?"

Ignore them.

Mmmm, breakfast, Homer thought as he sat down.

He nibbled away voraciously at a donut as Bart rifled through the cereal box to find the prize, a pack of cigarettes, which was proudly announced in bold letters on the outside of the box.

Okay that's enough.

Homer continued nibbling on the donut.

Okay that's enough.

Homer continued nibbling on the donut.

Bob obviously made a bad choice for the body to occupy. This host was too stupid to be influenced. It would be more difficult than anticipated.

"Honey, why aren't you in your work clothes? Aren't you going to the plant today?" Marge asked.

Don't tell them anything. Make up something. Think, dammit, think.

"I'm going to the hospital to kill Mr. Burns," Homer said.

There was silence in the kitchen.

"Doh!" Homer exclaimed as he hit his forehead.

Scarface pulled the car into the hospital parking lot. It was still early, so there were very few people milling about. He shut off the engine and reached into his jacket pocket. He pulled out a handgun. From his other pocket he pulled out a silencer and screwed it onto the barrel of the gun. He exited the car quickly and walked briskly to the loading dock at the back of the hospital. There was a cube van parked with its rear gate open. The van had the words "Allen-Bradley" stenciled on the side. Two men were unloading boxes from it. As they had their backs turned, Scarface slipped into the hospital.

Alex pulled his Ford Probe into the hospital parking lot. He reached into the back seat and grabbed a bouquet of flowers. He set the car alarm and proceeded into the hospital.

"Burns' room is on the fourth floor. Bob has assumed a new body. Mulder thinks it may be in Homer Simpson. We don't have a picture, but he's slightly overweight, balding and he has a lower-than-average IQ," Scully said.

Starling said, "Since Mulder has met Mr. Simpson, why don't you two search for him while Dale and I check on Mr. Burns?"

"Agreed," Mulder said.

A white van without any markings stopped beside where Cooper was standing. The driver leaned out of the window and said, "Hey, buddy... interested in buying some cheap speakers?"

"No thanks, I bought some last week already," Cooper answered.

The van then drove off.

Homer pulled his Plymouth Reliant into the hospital parking lot. He reached into the back seat and grabbed his lunch. He locked the doors and proceeded into the hospital.

Scarface opened the door of the linen closet slowly. Seeing that there was no one in the corridor, he came out. He had found an orderly's uniform and had changed into it. As he walked down the hallway, he spied a cart loaded with boxes. He dropped his gun into the box on top and started pushing the cart towards the elevator.

On his way the elevators, a row of vending machines caught Homer's attention. He immediately made a bee-line for them and stood there as if in a trance, mystified by their contents. "Mmmm... over-priced hospital vending machine food," he mumbled to himself.

The elevator door opened and Scarface pushed the cart out. He passed by the nursing station, and the only person there was a spectacled nurse deeply engrossed in an information technology textbook. Her name tag read, "Sharon". She didn't look up as he passed by. Up ahead, there was a police officer asleep in a chair, his shotgun leaning up against a wall.

Homer pounded his fist and kicked as hard as he could, but the vending machine would not give back his change. "Damn you stupid vending machine! Give me back my quarter!" Homer shouted in vain.

Bob sighed.

Alex came out of the hospital gift shop with a newspaper. He heard some banging and saw a man wrestling with a vending machine.

Scarface picked up the gun out of the box and slowly crept past the sleeping police officer. The room had the smell of alcohol and antiseptic and was lit only by the morning sun, peeking through the closed venetian blinds. "Long time, no see, Monty," Scarface said as he looked on the frail body of Mr. Burns.

"It's just up ahead," Starling said to Cooper as they exited the elevator.

They passed by a nursing station where a nurse was hunched over a textbook. She didn't look up as they passed by.

Scarface released the safety on the gun and took aim. "It's nothing personal, Monty," he said, "Just a matter of national security."

Alex exited the staircase on the fourth floor. He approached the nursing station and asked the woman seated where his uncle was staying. The cheerful woman, by the name of Sharon, pointed down the hall and wished him a nice day.

"That must be Homer Simpson," Scully said as she pointed at the man hitting a vending machine with a chair.

Mulder and Scully cautiously approached Homer, their guns drawn. "Mr. Simpson!" Mulder shouted, "Federal agents! Put down the chair and place your hands on the head!"

Thoughts ran through Homer's mind. Do I put the chair down first, or do I put my hands on my head first?

Run you fool!

But what about those sweet sugar-enriched delicacies that await me? Won't they get lonely?

Forget the junk food, get out of here.

Do I put my hands on my head, then throw down the chair?


Homer threw the chair at Mulder and ran screaming down the corridor. Mulder knocked the chair out of the way and gave chase. Scully followed.

"Have you thought about what we do when we corner him?" Scully thought.

"I don't know. But whatever we do, we must try to avoid shooting him," Mulder said.

Cooper saw the orderly with the gun pointed at Mr. Burns as he entered the room. He pulled out his gun and said in a stern voice, "Federal agents! Drop the gun!"

Starling came in behind him and pointed her gun at the stranger. "Who are you?" she demanded, her finger tightening on the trigger.

Scarface turned around and faced the two agents. Piece of cake, he thought.

Alex walked into the room where his uncle was staying. The first thing he noticed was that it was very crowded. The other thing he noticed was that everybody had a gun. "What's going on here?" he demanded.

The momentary distraction was all that Scarface needed. He raised his gun and fired three shots. The first shot missed Alex's head by a few inches, harmlessly ricocheting off the wall, prompting Alex to bolt out of the room. The second and third shots, however, connected with the two FBI agents. Starling stumbled as a sharp pain erupted in her thigh and Cooper felt the hot metal slide into his abdomen. Starling cried out in pain, but forced herself to keep her head clear. She opened fire, and Scarface took a bullet in the left arm.

Scarface grabbed his arm and he could feel the warm blood begin to trickle down. He needed to escape. This whole operation had just gone down the toilet.

He looked to his right and saw a door that joined to the adjacent room. He shot the lock and darted through the now-unlocked door.

"Are you okay?" Cooper asked his fallen partner.

"I'll live, but I can't dance," Starling joked.

Cooper got up, grabbed his stomach and hobbled after Scarface. "What the hell are you doing?" Starling demanded.

"Don't worry about me!" Cooper said as he exited the room.

"Damn you, Cooper," Starling cursed as she grabbed onto a chair and tried to lift herself off of the floor.

Alex stood in the hallway and looked at the police officer, still sleeping, and the shotgun resting against the wall. "I promise I will return it," he said as he grabbed the shotgun.

Scarface ran as fast as he could down the hospital corridor. He glanced back quickly and saw the FBI agent on his tail. He turned around and fired a shot.

The bullet slammed into the floor tile in front of Cooper, shattering it into a cloud of white dust. Cooper aimed and returned fire.

As the man in the dark suit ran by the nursing station, firing a gun, Sharon shouted, "This is a hospital! Us a silencer on that gun!"

Homer pushed his way through a set of double doors. Soft lighting reflected off of the polished stainless steel fixtures that housed various hot and cold foods. "Mmmm... hospital food," Homer said in a trance-like state.

Homer grabbed one of the still-wet plastic trays and plunked it down on the guide rail. As he slowly moved his way down the line, he piled a varied assortment of the cafeteria's offerings on his tray.

Scully peeked through the small rectangular window of the door into the cafeteria. "He's in there," she exclaimed.

Homer heard the double doors swing open and saw the two FBI agents. "Oh no!" he cried out as he hurried his trip through the line, piling food on his tray in a haphazard fashion.

The FBI agents were closing in and he still had not reached the hot food items. "Gimme that burger!" Homer demanded anxiously to the cafeteria worker as he pointed at the top of the counter.

"That one? But it's plastic..." the confused cafeteria worker said.

"I don't care! Give it to me!" Homer shouted anxiously.

The cafeteria worker shook his head and grabbed the fake hamburger off of the counter and passed it to Homer. Homer immediately took a bite out of it, slightly deflating it. "Mmmmm..." he mumbled as an expression of relief came over his face.

Cooper had lost a lot of blood. He didn't know how long he could continue this chase. He was starting to feel dizzy from the falling blood pressure and there was a gradual darkness encroaching his field of vision. He could still feel the heat from the bullet that was lodged in his abdomen, triggering a cascade of pain as it wiggled inside. His legs gave way and he saw the fleeing suspect disappear behind a door leading to the staircase.

A hand rested on his shoulder. Cooper looked up and saw a man with curly brown hair holding a shotgun. "Don't worry, I'll get him for you," the man said kindly.

"Who are you?" Cooper asked weakly, trying to make out the stranger's face.

"Officer Alex Murphy, Detroit Police Department," the man answered, just before he bolted off in pursuit.

Cooper then fell onto his back.

Starling managed to pull herself to where Cooper had fallen. Cooper opened his eyes and looked up at his partner and smiled. His teeth clattered as he was shivering. "I feel so cold..." he said weakly as Starling cradled his head.

"Goddammit! There's a man dying here!" Starling shouted towards the nursing station.

"Hang on Cooper, I'm getting some help," Starling said reassuringly.

"Remember one thing, Clarise," Cooper mumbled as his breathing became laboured, "the price for the truth can never be too high..."

"Don't talk like that," Starling said.

She knew the inevitable was about to occur. At that moment, the memory of her uncle's ranch in Montana came back to her. She was ten at the time and her father had just died, so she was sent to live with her cousins. One night, she heard a strange noise that roused her from her bed. She crept into the cold night air and peeked through the open door of the barn. To her horror, she saw that her uncle was slaughtering the lambs, and it was the screams of the lambs that she had heard. On impulse, she rushed into the barn and opened the gate to the pen. The lambs remained where they were.

Starling grabbed the closest one and just ran. She didn't know where, but she knew she had to save at least this one lamb. An hour later, the county sheriff picked her up on the road into town. The lamb went back to the ranch and was slaughtered. Starling had failed to protect the lamb, and it gave her such a feeling of emptiness and despair inside, much like how she felt right now. She had failed again...

"You haven't failed, Clarise," Cooper said, "The strange little man from another place told me that this would happen. There will be other lambs for you to protect..."

Cooper closed his eyes and died in Starling's arms.

Alex rushed through the ground floor staircase exit. He scanned the crowd in search of Scarface. Off in the distance, he could see him walking slowly towards the exit. Alex ran forward a few steps and shouted, "Stop! Police officer!"

Scarface turned around and fired at him. The shot missed, shattering the glass window of the gift shop. Screams came from the people caught in between the two combatants as they quickly sought shelter. Seeing that the crowd had scattered, Alex returned fire.

The metal beads flew across the hospital lobby faster than the speed of sound and slammed into the target. Scarface fell to the ground onto his back as some of the momentum of the shotgun pellets was transferred into his body. Alex approached Scarface slowly and picked up his dropped handgun. "Who are you?" Alex demanded.

Scarface remained silent as the life drained out of him. "I want answers! You try to kill my uncle, you shoot two FBI officers, and then you try and do me here. I want to know why!" Alex said angrily as he grabbed the collar of the dying man.

Scarface smiled and said, "You want the truth?"

"Yes I want the truth!"

"You can't handle the truth. This is just the tip of the iceberg..."

Scarface's eyes closed for the last time.

"Freeze Mr. Simpson!" Scully shouted.

Homer took the plastic hamburger out of his mouth and looked straight at Scully. For a brief moment, their eyes made direct contact...

Scully was in the room again. The room that was in her dream last night. The ethereal jazz music was everywhere. The plush red curtains delineated the outline of the room, and the hard marble floor with the black-and-white zigzag design rested beneath her feet.

"The man in the picture is coming through the window," a soft voice said.

Scully turned to her right and the little boy with the white mask was standing beside her. Before Scully could respond, the boy faded from view. She then heard a slow but hideous laugh. It was Bob.

Bob stood before here. What really struck Scully was his eyes. A fire burned within them, a fire so intense, that it penetrated into her.

There was a third person on Scully's left. It was Cooper. "What are you doing here? Is this a dream?" Scully asked.

Cooper smiled and said, "We live inside of a dream. It is too late for me, but you still have a chance. You must defeat Bob."

"But how...?" Scully said.

"Close the window, so he can never leave the waiting room," Cooper answered, enigmatically.

Cooper faded from view and only Scully and Bob remained in the room. Bob flashed an evil grin at Scully and began approaching her. Scully backed away as Bob said, "Walk with me!"

Ahead, at the far end of the room, the dwarf in the red suit came from behind the curtains. "What do I do?" Scully shouted.

The dwarf pulled the curtains back, revealing another room. There was a brick wall at the far end, with a window. It was open. "Close the window," Scully whispered to herself.

Scully suddenly rushed forward and ran headlong into Bob, knocking him backwards and onto the floor. She kept going, running towards the window. Bob got up and ran after her, shouting, "If you close the window, you will also be trapped here forever!"

Scully paid no attention to Bob's warning. She could hear the pounding footsteps of Bob behind her, edging closer. The dwarf, only twenty feet away, covered his eyes in fear.

Scully continued running. The window was now only ten feet away. All of a sudden, something caught her leg and she hit the floor. The bony hand of Bob grasped her lower leg with a viselike grip. Scully tried to pull herself forward, but Bob held on tightly. Scully kicked at Bob with her free leg, and she could hear him howl in pain. The grip on her leg relaxed and she pushed herself forward.

The window was like the type you would find in a house. It had a wooden frame with wooden crossbeams across the glass. It operated on a sliding mechanism, with the lower half of the window in the uppermost position. Through the window, Scully could see a snapshot of the 'real world'. She could see herself, Mulder and Homer Simpson all frozen in time. She grasped the sliding part of the window and pulled down with all her strength. Before she could make any headway, Bob was on top of her, trying to pull her away from the window. "If you do this, you damn us all!" he cried out.

"I don't care!" Scully shouted back as she did her best to pull down the window.

"Bob, come to me!" an airy woman's voice said.

Bob's grip on Scully released as he was distracted. Scully ignored the new voice and pulled the window down. It slammed down hard. It was over.

The room vanished from view, and Scully was back in the cafeteria.

Cooper sat in the antique chair in the room with the red curtains. He was alone. He had died in the arms of Clarise Starling, his partner, and now here he was, back where he started.

There was a white light on the ceiling, that cast a warm glow. Cooper looked up and he saw the outline of an angel slowly appear. Cooper smiled. It was Laura Palmer...

One week later

Scully sat in the office that she and Mulder shared in the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Her fingers danced across the keyboard of the laptop as she filed her report.

"The noncorporeal entity known as 'Bob' has disappeared. The victims he possessed, Ned Flanders and Homer Simpson, have no recollection of the events that occurred during their possession. In the past week, there have been no further reports of strange behaviour being exhibited by any residents of Springfield, that is, stranger than normal. Montgomery Burns emerged from the coma a day later, without any recollection of what happened to him. He also denied any knowledge of the experiments that Agent Dale Cooper had learned about from his unknown source. Unfortunately, Agent Cooper was fatally wounded by an unknown assailant, who was attempting to kill Mr. Burns. Agent Clarise Starling was wounded in the attack and is currently recovering. The assailant was gunned down in the hospital lobby by Mr. Burns' nephew, Alex Murphy, a police officer with the Detroit Police Department. A thorough investigation of the physical evidence, including the assailant's fingerprints, did not yield any clues. Mulder suspects that this person, whom we shall name 'Scarface' was an MIB, or Man in Black, whom we have encountered before. There are still many unanswered questions in this case, and attempts to answer them have resulted in dead ends. A search for information relating to the experiments at UCLA have also been fruitless. This case will remain unsolved as we have not fully understood the phenomenon of Bob or the identity of Scarface."

"Attention S-Mart shoppers... we have a blue light special on disposable lawn furniture in our summer section. We have a wide selection to choose from so hurry now for another smart buy..."

Ash priced the last coffeemaker on the end display and stood back to admire his work. "The Merchandiser Who Would be King" rubbed his jaw as he thought back to his adventures in the twelfth century a few short weeks ago. He then saw the slightly overweight man with the greying sideburns, permed hair and dark sunglasses wandering around his department, looking lost. Ash answered this call to duty and approached the man.

"Hi, my name is Ash... housewares. Anything I can help you with?" Ash asked the man.

The man turned around to face him. "Yes, son, maybe you could help me. I'm looking for hunting rifles."

"Yes, go straight down this aisles and you'll find it on your right where that display of Toblerone is."

"Why thank you, thank you very much."

As the man started down the aisle, Ash called out, "Shop smart... shop S-Mart!"

Then something clicked in Ash's mind. The sideburns, the sunglasses, the voice... no, it couldn't be...

The man paid for his hunting rifle and left the S-Mart and walked into the bright sunshine. As he walked briskly across the parking lot to his Cadillac, he looked over the shoulder to make sure he wasn't being followed. The Mafia never forget, he thought to himself.

Mulder ran in, out of breath. Scully looked up and said, "Mulder! What's up?"

Mulder caught his breath and answered, "Skinner's sending us to Arkansas to pick up a person under the witness protection program."

"And what's so special about this person? Couldn't they send someone else?" Scully said, knowing that the bizarre twist was about to be revealed.

"The person we have to pick up is... Elvis Aaron Presley," Mulder answered.

"The King?" Scully said slowly.

Mulder nodded. "Well what are we waiting for? Let's go!" Scully said as she grabbed her jacket.


Coming soon: X-files: The Elvis Files... NOT!!!!

Cast (in order of appearance):

Fox Mulder		Stewart MacGuire P98
Dana Scully		Laurie Dillon P98
Ned Flanders		Rick Moranis
Muscular Bald Man	Mr. T
Apu			Apache Indian
Guard at Jail		Ice T
Homer Simpson		Bruce Willis
Bart Simpson		Macaulay Culkin
Police Chief		William Shatner
Car 18 Officer		Don Knotts
Patti and Selma		Roseanne
Flo			Traci Lords
Dale Cooper		Kyle Maclachlan
Clarise Starling		Jodie Foster
Police Officers		Kathy Ireland, Emilio Esteves, Samuel Jackson
Alice			Linda Lavin
Madge			Andrea Martin
Mr. Clean		Peter Graves
Scarface			Harvey Keitel
Woman in Pentagon	Diana Muldaur
Helicopter Pilot		Adam Sandler
Vinh Truong		Chow Yun-Fat
Police Officers		Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, Leslie Nielsen			
Police Officers		George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson
Sirhan Sirhan		Roshan Seth
Robert Kennedy		Lane Smith
Old Man Simpson		Hume Cronyn
Montgomery Burns		Max von Sydow
Dr. Hu			Sam Lin P98
Roadhouse Waitress	Vanessa Williams
Roadhouse Patrons	Paul Dilda P98, David Gillies P98, Phillip Bunsick P98
Roadhouse Patrons	Jennifer Norohna P98, Lee Perrin P98, Amir Rouhi P98
Roadhouse Band		New Order
Oriental Woman		Grace Wong-Lim P98
Crew-cut Guy		Robert Humphreys P98
Blonde			Linda Shaw P98
Jacques			Jean-Claude Van Damme
Principal Skinner	Joe Clark
Tall Man			Fabio
Tonya Harding		Herself
Alex Murphy		Peter Weller
Barney			Paul Hornsveld
Dwarf			Michael Anderson
Old Woman		Louise Fletcher
Killer Bob		Frank Silva
Marge Simpson		Kate Mulgrew
Cleaning Woman		Alicia Silverstone
Guy in Van		Howard Stern
Nurse Sharon Moore	Sharon Moore P98
Sleeping Police Officer	Don Rickles
Cafeteria Worker		Pauly Shore
Cafeteria Patrons	Nia Davies P98, Daniel Low P98, Brad Smegal P98
Cafeteria Patrons	Karen Black P98, Sherri Fine P98
Laura Palmer		Sheryl Lee
Ash			Bruce Campbell
Elvis Presley		Himself
Nuns			Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Najimy, Maggie Smith
Laughing Man		Brent Spiner
Woman with Baby		Elizabeth Moxley-Paquette
Mad Scientist		Anthony Wensley
Forrest Gunz		Hugh Gunz
Arrested Man		Hugh Grant

Written by		Anthony Leong, Laurie Dillon, Paul Hornsveld
Directed by		Quentin Tarantino
Executive Producers	Sam Raimi, John Woo, Robert Rodriguez, Luc Besson

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